Michele, I tried for some time many years ago to get people to do
this, unsuccessfully. Perhaps you can accomplish this feat.
Just a suggestion
The great thing about the Fells is that the dogs are given a large
open area to run free and play. Fenced in parks in the area are not
big enough, always filled with dirt or mulch, and are the cause of
many a disagreement between dogs and/or their owners.
I know that the matter of dogs at the Fells is a huge issue for many
and has been an issue for quite some time. The way I look at it is
the humans in the area have many places to hike, bike, whatever.
There are very few places for our dogs. Is it so much to ask that we
have a place where our dogs can run free? There will never be an area
that is poop free with perfect dogs. It just won't happen. But then
again, how often do you find people littering and acting inconsiderate
towards others in the same area? Need I say more?
If we all do our best to pick up after our dogs and to maintain peace
in the park by training our animals we can make the Fells a great
place for all. I just don't understand why this is such a huge
No one is campaigning to designate public open space for dogs. We
are campaining for legal access to public open space for people who
are currently under-served by our parks in the Commonwealth.
Leave it better that you found it- that's the girl scout way
On Feb 12, 8:56 am, somervilledog <canisma...@somervilledog.com>
I thought I'd post my thoughts on the meeting, mostly for those who
weren't there. Just my personal impressions.
In response to Kristy's postings - she kept standing up repeatedly in
the meeting, speaking over others who never got the chance to speak
once. Even though she apparently has not been to the Sheepfold or
used it in 5 years. Another woman at the meeting told me that Kristy
has a business walking dogs elsewhere in the Fells every day, so
perhaps she is trying to deflect attention, hoping that activity won't
get regulated, I'm not really sure. But I for one didn't appreciate
people bringing up negative aspects of dog access (e.g. runoff) at a
meeting where we're asking for more dog access. DCR said they are
working on developing a permitting system for business owners (dog
walkers) using state parks.
Anyway, other highlights:
- The DCR gave us a lot of info on the current situation. The current
rules are that dogs are allowed everywhere in the Fells on-leash, and
they're not allowed to be off leash anywhere in the Fells. Right
now, the DCR oversees the Fells, but apparently does not have the
authority to start ticketing people for off-leash violations. At some
point in the future (sounded like 1-2 years), they will get that
authority and plan to start enforcement, which probably means someone
posted at Sheepfold handing out tickets until people stop coming.
That was the bad news. The good news is that they're trying to avoid
a bad situation by pro-actively creating a new dog park somewhere else
in the Fells.
They said they didn't know that 1/2-1 acre was too small. They said
they would go back to the drawing board to find another spot in the
Fells with a size more similar to the Sheepfold (which is 7-10
acres). They said they won't consider fencing a part of the Sheepfold
off. The reasons given were that it's supposed to be used for other
activity (the droves of picknickers and frisbee players who supposedly
will throng there once the dogs are gone). Also, they said they've
checked the field where the dogs play and there is an unacceptable
amount of waste there. They're worried about the runoff from waste
going into the Winchester reservoirs. However, there is no evidence
that runoff has been a problem, no one has investigated this and taken
measurements or samples or anything. Personally, I suspect that the
buffer of trees & vegetation between the field and the water is
sufficient to filter out any bacteria, but no one will know until
scientists go out there and check it. There are standards and ways to
evaluate this, animal waste runoff from fields near water is a common
issue, as anyone who spends time in Vermont knows.
- Most of the comments from dog owners stressed the value of a
community of users actually using public space together. Many people
pointed out the successful dog parks in other cities, including the
Boston area. Many said that the way to address problems at the
Sheepfold with waste and out-of-control dogs was to fence in the park
and increase education and self-enforcement.
- The executive director of Friends of the Fells spoke at length, I
found it somewhat threatening and disturbing. He first said that his
group could fill rooms with people too, if they wanted. He stressed
the ecological value of the Fells, and talked of how rare it was to
have that large of a reserve near a big city (I thought to myself,
Blue Hills is 3 times bigger). He mentioned how dogs running off
leash in the woods will completely clean out voles, moles, etc, the
critters that foxes and fishers eat. I wanted to point out that
Sheepfold is 8 acres out of 2,650, and that creating a dog park will
take dogs out of the woods, but I didn't get a chance.
- Also, on the trash barrels, DCR said they can't really put barrels
all over the field, because they need to get a truck to the barrels,
and they can't bring trucks on the field when it's muddy. They also
said the ranger was threatened by dogs and an owner that refused to
leash his dog. DCR also said when they put more barrels out, people
fill them with household trash. People pointed out the fact that
volunteers completely cleaned the field in one weekend, and that an
official dog park would help volunteers organize & maintain the
Overall, I thought the tone of the DCR people was better than I
thought it would be. They seemed eager to listen to our suggestions,
and had a good attitude about working with dog owners more closely in
the future. They wanted to know if people would go to a new dog park,
we said yes. They seemed open to investigating other dogs parks more,
inlucluding even driving to Portland, Maine. I thought their offer to
find another site was very encouraging. At this point, the best case
scenario would be that they find another 5+ acre site in the Fells and
create a dog park, it works and everyone goes there instead of
Sheepfold. The worst case scenario would be that they can't or won't
find another adequate site. But I was encouraged by their attitude at
the meeting. They were very patient with an unruly crowd.
Hopefully others will jump in if I got anything wrong, or overstated
Thanks for going to the effort to write that description of events. I
was there and I believe you did a good job of describing the
highlights. One thing I would add-- it was pointed out that if people
have actually thrown household trash in the barrels at the Sheepfold,
you can combat that by getting the barrels with a small opening at the
top-- used at other dog parks.
I too take issue with the lengthy comments of the gentleman from the
Friends of the Fells. For one thing-- we all know they are close
partners with DCR. I thought this meeting was supposed to be an
opportunity for dog owners to finally make their voices heard, wasn't
it? His presence was almost designed to try to quell our discussion.
And many of his comments were disingenuous. Such as asking if we all
mean we would be willing to build our own fence to create a dog park,
and describing how the Friends get matching funds for their pet
projects. Perhaps their demographic is skewed more toward the
wealthy, with the ability to contribute and to solicit others to
contribute. The dog owners come from all walks of life, and are
already paying the taxes that are supposed to keep our parks in shape
for our enjoyment! And the comment about filling the room with his
Friends members as well? I don't doubt it. Just as they would
probably fill the room to discuss saving the Brazilian rainforest.
But how many of them are USING THE SHEEPFOLD?? I am sure that on
this sunny weekend ahead there will be hundreds of us with our dogs
frolicking in the snow, ENJOYING NATURE. And will there be five or
ten members of the Friends? Don't get me wrong-- I respect the
Friends as an organization doing important work for this great
resource for many years. But it seems clear that they would deny us
and our lovable dogs the opportunity to enjoy this public resource, so
that the foxes can have it all to themselves.
> > > are currently under-served by our parks in the Commonwealth.- Hide quoted text -
> - Show quoted text -
Does anyone know if "the gentleman from the Friends of the Fells" was
Michael Arnott or was it Mike Ryan? Michael Arnott was at the Partners in
Parks "dog meeting" a few weeks back and came with two women that are also
FOF members. All three of them were clearly against allowing dogs off-leash
in the Fells. It would be a big disappointment if the FOF Executive
Director is also in opposition.
I'm pretty sure the FOF rep was Mike Ryan.
He talked a lot about the natural eco system of the fells. Its
unfortunate because I think he blames the dogs and people for the
abandonment of the fells by some wildlife like foxes and coyotes. I'm
not an expert on animals but doesn't it make sense that urban
development and the creation of route 93 in the sixties, had more to
do with the displacement of coyotes and foxes then our dogs
On Feb 17, 4:12 pm, "J. Alain Ferry - BostonDOG" <a...@bostondog.org>
> > - Show quoted text -- Hide quoted text -
> read more »- Hide quoted text -
"You have helped so much". Thank you for all the helpful criticism.
It's amazing, all the good idea's you are providing to make the fells
a better place. I guess those of us that are trying, are just wasting
our time because you guys have already done so much. Bravo.....
Bravo.....please keep up the good work. The rest of us will just bow.
I totally agree with you trig. I'm not saying you aren't doing a great
thing by picking up other dogs poo but the lack of irresponsibility
that goes there is concerning. I'm just saying that picking up my
"own" dogs poop is enough for me and I wouldn't touch some other dogs
feces when the owner of that dog should be doing it. I mean it is
great you all want to have poop clean up day at the fells but that
doesn't solve the irresponsible peoples problem of not cleaning up
after there dog. It only leaves them reason enough to not pick up if
they know someone else will do it for them. I steer clear of the dog
park anyways. To many untrained ill-mannered dogs and owners too! It
is the lazy way of excercising your dog instead of taking him/her for
an actual walk or hike in the woods in my opinion!
Have a spine and call these jerks on their bad behavior. It's the only
way they will learn.